ADL Accepts Macklemore's Apology Over Fake Hook Nose

Grammy-winning U.S. rapper wore costume at Seattle performance that some said represents anti-Semitic stereotype; Macklemore said it was 'random.'

Macklemore jumping up and down in costume during a performance at the EMP Museum in Seattle on May 16, 2014.
AP/The Seattle Times, Lindsey Wasson

The Anti-Defamation League has accepted an apology by Grammy-winning U.S. rapper Macklemore for wearing a costume that some said represented an anti-Semitic stereotype.

Macklemore said on his website he didn't mean to mock Jewish people by wearing a black wig, beard and hook nose during a performance in Seattle last week.

"We take him at his word that he did not have any ill-intent and unreservedly accept his apology," said ADL director Abraham H. Foxman.

Macklemore wrote that he randomly chose the pieces of the costume he wore at Friday's performance with Ryan Lewis at the EMP Museum in their hometown so he could disguise himself and move freely around during the secret show. He said it wasn't meant to be a caricature of a Jewish man.

"I respect all cultures and all people," he wrote. "I would never intentionally put down anybody for the fabric that makes them who they are. I love human beings, love originality, and ... happen to love a weird outfit from time to time."

Macklemore and Lewis gained widespread fame with a message supporting diversity, and their hit song "One Love" calls for tolerance and support for members of the gay community. The two performed the song at January's Grammy Awards while several same-sex couples were married, and they have been lauded for their progressive messages.

"We know that Macklemore is someone who has used his platform in the past to stand up and speak out against intolerance and bigotry, particularly homophobia," Foxman said in a statement. "With that in mind we believe that this matter is little more than ‘a tempest in a teapot’ over an unfortunate choice of wardrobe."

Macklemore wrote postscript to his apology, saying: "Out of a negative can come a positive. Through this situation I've got hip to some incredible groups like the ADL and I encourage people to check the great work they, and others like them, do."

Macklemore said he understood his detractors' point of view.

"I acknowledge how the costume could, within a context of stereotyping, be ascribed to a Jewish caricature," he wrote. "I am here to say that it was absolutely not my intention, and unfortunately at the time I did not foresee the costume to be viewed in such regard. I'm saddened that this story, or any of my choices, would lead to any form of negativity."